Posts Tagged ‘1875’

William Allen: Congressman, Senator, Governor

July 22, 2010

Governor William Allen (Image from

The Old Governor and the New.

HON. WM. ALLEN took the oath of office as Governor of Ohio, on Monday last. After this, ex-Governor NOYES introduced the new Governor in the following courteous remarks:


MY FELLOW-CITIZENS: I have the honor to introduce to you a gentleman long distinguished in the country’s history, and now called by the sovereign voice of the people to preside over the interests of our State; the Hon. William Allen, Governor of Ohio. [Great and prolonged applause.]


Upon being thus introduced Governor Allen spoke as follows:

GENTLEMEN OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The events of October have made it my duty to appear before you, and in your presence to take the oath prescribed to the Chief Executive officer of the State.

I have taken the oath, and shall earnestly seek to perform the promises it exacts.

At the opening of your session my predecessor, in his annual message, submitted to you a general statement of the several Executive Departments of the Government. He likewise made such suggestions as seemed to him necessary and proper.

If at any time during your session the public interests should, in my judgment, require me to do so, I will submit to you some additional suggestions in the form of a special message.

The Constitutional Convention, now in session, will no doubt complete its important labors and submit the result for ratification by the people during the current year.

Should such ratification be obtained, your next session will be one of extraordinary labor. You will then be required to revise the whole body of the general laws of the State, and, by appropriate modifications, adjust those laws to the requirements of the new Constitution.

For these reasons you may deem it unnecessary to alter in any very material particulars the existing laws at your present session.

But there are some legislative acts which will, I believe, attract your immediate attention. These are the acts by which taxes are imposed and appropriations made. Even if you were now convened under ordinary circumstances, you would, I believe, feel it to be your duty to reduce existing taxes and appropriations; for it is evident to all men that the increase of taxes and public expenses has for some years past been much beyond the actual and rational necessities of the public service.

But, gentlemen, you are not now convened under ordinary circumstances.

A few months ago, that undefinable but tremendous power, called a money panic, imparted a violent shock to the whole industrial and property system of the country.

The well-considered plans and calculations of all men engaged in active business, or in the exertion of active labor, were suddenly and thoroughly deranged. In the universal business anarchy that ensued, the minds of men became more or less bewildered, so that few among them were able distinctly to see their way or know what to do or what to omit, even through the brief futurity of a single week. All values and all incomes were instantly and deeply depressed.

There was not a farmer, a manufacturer, a merchant, a mechanic, or a laborer, who did not feel that he was less able to meet his engagements, or pay his taxes, than he had been before. The distressful effect of this state of things was felt by all, but it was more grievously felt by the great body of the laboring people, because it touched them at the vital point of subsistence. Many of these men were unable to find that regular and remunerative employment so essential to their well-being, while some of them, especially in the large towns and cities, would have suffered for the want of the nutriment upon which the continuance of life depends, but for that prompt humanity and charity so characteristic of and so honorable to the whole American people.

It is in the midst of this condition of things that you are now convened; and it is manifestly the duty of the Legislature of the State to afford the only relief which it has the constitutional power to afford, by the reduction of the public taxes in proportion to the reduced ability of the people to pay.

Yet, this cannot be done without at the same time reducing the expenditures of the State Government down to the very last dollar compatible with the maintenance of the public credit of the State, and the efficient working of the State Government, under the ever-present sense of necessary economy. I do not mean that vague and mere verbal economy which public men are so ready to profess with regard to public expenditures — I mean that earnest and inexorable economy which proclaims its existence by accomplished facts.

In the prodigality of the past you will find abundant reason for frugality in the future.

I close these brief observations by returning my thanks to the people of the State for that expression of their good will and pleasure which brings me before you.

I thank you, gentlemen of the General Assembly, and our fellow-citizens here convened, for the respectful attention with which I have been heard; and I thank my predecessor for the courtesy and urbanity which he has extended toward me since my arrival in this city, when for the first time I had the pleasure of making his personal acquaintance.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 17, 1874

Governor William Allen

ALLEN pays $525 per month for himself and family at the Neil House. — Democratic economy!

Kenton Republican.

This may be true: but one thing is sure — the honest old man will pay it out of his own, not the people’s pocket! He recently sold $30,000 worth of cattle from his own farm, and has a lot of durhams and shorthorns left. We can assure our Republican friends that Governor Allen will never purchase a landaulet, silver-mounted harness and gold-headed whip out of the governor’s contingent fund. He was born in the “earlier and purer days of the republic. It is left to the WILLIAMES, the DELANOS and the parasites who are appointed by GRANT, the chief salary grabber, to indulge in carriages and horses at the expense of the taxpayers of the country. There is a day of reckoning coming for all public thieves.

Plain Dealer.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Jan 30, 1874

Governor Allen has returned all Railroad passes sent to him, saying that he does not think it comports with his position to accept favors of that kind.

Cambridge Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio) Feb 26, 1874

One of the first official acts of Governor Allen was to pardon William Graham, a notorious rebel sympathizer of Summit county, who was serving out a life sentence for the murder of two loyal citizens during the war. This act stamps the real character and sympathies of Gov. Allen, and is alike an insult to the dead and the living — the hero in his grave and the loyal people of the State.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Mar 6, 1874

Democratic State Convention.
Everything Harmonious, and a General Good Feeling.



He said a speech now would be out of order. He stood before them as a servant of the Democracy always, when unobstructed, points to truth, honor and liberty of all men. He regarded the people as every thing and the agent as nothing except as he executes their will. He had served the people for sixteen years, and left their service with his hands as clean as when he entered their service, and when he came to die, he would rather have inscribed on his tombstone:

“Here lies and honest man, than to have millions of stolen treasures to leave to his children. He knew not that he should serve the people more than one year. A voice, “Yes, you will.” Another voice, “You will be the next President,” immense cheering. Well, I do not seek or decline any position the people may call me to fill. I again thank you. Continued cheering and three hearty cheers “for William Allen, the next President of the United States.”

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Sep 3, 1874

LAST year the Radicals in Ohio called upon William Allen to “rise up,” and now they are sorry for it. The old gentleman refuses to take his seat, but stands up  17,000 strong.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 31, 1874

"Rise Up" William Allen - Nov 5, 1874 - The Democrat - Lima, Ohio

“Rise Up” William Allen.

The Democratic organs which have been so distressed over the intemperate habits of President Grant, should give their immediate and prayerful attention to His Excellency, Roaring William Allen, Governor of Ohio. The Kenton Republican says:

Governor Allen was very sick when he left here last Saturday night, and had to be carried from the barouche into the sleeping car. His stomach was so overloaded with mean whisky that he was as helpless as a child. and yet the Democracy speak of this man as their prospective candidate for the Presidency.

A representative man of the party in every sense of the word!

This is melancholy. The people of Ohio have known for a year past that His Excellency keeps something “thirteen years old” in his cellar, but they did not suppose that he ever had to be helped to his carriage on public occasions. William will find it difficult to “rise up” with a record like this against him.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Nov 20, 1874

“Your Taxes.”

In his speech on the 8th inst. Governor Allen said:

‘There it is, draped in black. A State has disappeared. Louisiana as a sovereign State of this Union has no existence. This night a part of the standing army paid by your taxes has crushed it out of existence.’

That is more of the old rebel talk about a ‘Sovereign State.’ Gov. Allen is much troubled about the taxes of the people. While upon this subject we wish to call his attention to a matter in the annual report of the Auditor of State, page 228. It reads thus:


Feb. 21, William Wall, carriage hire …$100.00
Feb. 24, Frank Hemmersbach, service of band …75.00
March 10, Charles Huston, hairbrushes, perfumery, soap, combs and shoe-blacking …24.00
April 10, James Naughton, 75 years of crash at 12 1/2 cents per yard …9.38
Total … $217.88

And it costs the tax-payers of the State two hundred and seventeen dollars and eighty-eight cents to get one old Democrat scrubbed up and perfumed so as to appear decent when presented to the public. But, is not 75 years of crash rather a long towel to only one of the unwashed Democracy? To the rescue, fellow-citizens! Our liberties are in danger! Suppose the Democratic Legislature should pass a law to buy soap, fine combs and 75 yards of crash for every unwashed Democrat in the State.

Holmes County Republican.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Feb 5, 1875

It Makes a Difference Whose Ox is Gored.
[Pomeroy Telegraph.]

Governor Allen and Senator Thurman were called out one night last week in Columbus, to help celebrate the election of a Democratic Mayor in that city, by three hundred less than the usual majority. The Governor was terribly severe on corruptionists, and had a good deal to say about the corruption existing at Washington, but somehow he forgot to say anything about that lately brought to light in the Ohio Legislature, and which his party friends sought diligently to cover up.

Your average Democrat is fierce on Republican scoundrels, but when it comes to exposing and punishing those of his own party, he generally declines. It strikes us that an Ohio Democrat, at this time, must have a good deal of cheek to talk about corruption in others.

Let him look at the last Ohio Legislature and then keep silent.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 30, 1875

Here is a strategy! Down in Dark county there lives a man named William Allen, a long, lank, sullen, dyspeptic, tobacco-chewing man, who was once a Democrat, who served a couple of terms in Congress — one as a Democrat and another as a Republican. He is a lawyer, has been a Judge, and has boxed the political compass thoroughly. The only thing good about him is his name!

Now the Republicans think if they could only put up this William Allen against our “Old Bill,” they would make a point. We don’t think it would amount to much, though it would lead to the confusion which used to attend the fight between “Old Doctor Jacob Townsend Sarsaparilla, and that of “Young Doctor Jacob Townsend.” Ours is the original William, and having once “risen,” all the namesakes and Radicals in the State can’t keep him from being re-elected.

Hurrah for the original Bill! No counterfeit bills taken by the people of Ohio.

Plain Dealer.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, ohio) May 13, 1875

What kind of whisky do they drink at Coshocton? Is it what is termed ‘rifled,’ ‘rot-gut’ or the kind that kills around the corner?

The intelligent editor of the Coshocton Democrat in giving a three column history of old Bill Allen, telling how he was born away back in the misty past, just before the dawn of history in the old North State, which accounts for the various reports as to his age. After discoursing like a love-sick maiden on the old ‘chap’s’ love scrapes, he launches out on his political career and says, ‘Allen accepted the challenge of the Whigs to debate with Thomas Ewing. In the very first debate, Allen, in the opinion of the audience, had much the best of it, and so firm did the conviction become, that Ewing was withdrawn after the second joint discussion.’ Great Heaven! to compare William Allen with, perhaps, the greatest man intellectually this State ever produced! It would be just as appropriate to compare the editor of the Coshocton Democrat to a jackass and so enrage the animal that he would kick the day lights out of you for it.

Again, this editor would have us believe that old ‘Uncle William’ discussed philosophy with Socrates, paraded the streets of old Athens arm in arm with Plato and Aristotle, for, he says: ‘Gov. Allen is a great historian, is deeply versed in philosophy and the sciences, and is better acquainted with rare books than almost any scholar any one ever met.’ No wonder the old man was acquainted with rare books! It is supposed those things existed before the deluge when the Governor was a boy, but the idea that the old Governor knows anything about philosophy and the sciences!

Great Jupiter! Hurl your thunder-bolts upon the devoted head of that Editor! But the poor fellow knows not what he is talking about. Too much honor had turned his head. ‘Old Uncle William,’ philosopher and scientist! Shades of the old philosophers! smite that man! Old Bill Allen a philosopher! In the next number that fellow will be claiming that the devil is a Saint, because the old thief always, and under all circumstances, marches under the Democratic banner.

Gentlemen of Coshocton take charge of that man. Don’t permit him to run at large while the people are paying so much money to make such ‘chaps’ comfortable at the Asylum for idiots.

Zanesville Courier.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Jul 15, 1875

Cambridge Jeffersonian - Aug 26, 1875

:[From the Plain Dealer.

We are Coming, WILLIAM ALLEN.
We are coming, William Allen,
From the meadow and the hill.
We are coming from the workshops,
From the furnace and the mill;
‘Tis the steady tramp of the thousands
That gives that steady roar,
That rolls from the Ohio
To Lake Erie’s sandy shore.

We are coming, William Allen,
O’er the river and the rill,
Over bog and over meadow,
Through the valley down the hill;
From the filed and from the forest,
From the mountain and the glen.
Blow your fog horn, William Allen,
Equal rights for equal men.

We are coming, William Allen,
From the Factory and mine;
For labor’s great tin-pail brigade
Is wheeling into line;
And massed in solid columns,
Armed with freemen’s ballots, we
Are coming, William Allen,
Lead us on to victory.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Sep 16, 1875

THE Democratic orators have a good deal of demagogue clap-trap to offer to the “poor man,” and a good deal to say about bloated bondholders and aristocratic land holders of great farms that the poor man ought to own a portion of, &c., &c. Governor ALLEN is one of the latter and owns a fourteen hundred acre farm, but he don’t say a word about giving or even selling a few acres for a garden spot to a poor man. His pure sympathy don’t take just that turn, although he is very much in need of more votes than he will get.

He proposes to fool them to vote for him by promising them “more money” — somebody elses money — if they can get it, after he gets their votes.

And here is Dr. BLACKBURN who his friend NICHOLAS SCHOTT says, has 400 acres, — does he propose to divide it with the “poor men” of Jackson township? NICHOLAS says “he is a little on the stingy order,” which seems to answer the question. The demagogues who have so much gushing interest for the poor man are not all fools.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Oct 7, 1875

IN a speech which Governor Allen made at Washington O.H. some time last Fall, there occurs this passage:

“The Democrats came into office last January after our political opponents had held control of the State of Ohio for nearly twenty years, but we could not find, after the most careful examination, a single case of official corruption.”

And this is more than he could have truthfully said of his own party before they had been in power as many months.

The Athens Messenger (Athens, Ohio) Oct 7, 1875

Nov 4, 1875 - The Coshocton Age

ALEXANDER DURANTY & Co., merchants of Liverpool, England, have failed for two million dollars, and the Democrat thinks it is all because BILL ALLEN and SAM CARY and the rag-baby were not elected last fall.


The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 20, 1876

IN the midst of the terrible slaughter of Democratic candidates for the Presidency, on account of some crooked transactions in money, or Congressional lobby jobs, the Democrat favors old BILL ALLEN as the only one not tainted, or sound on the rag-baby question. Yet old BILL has not the ghost of a chance.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 27, 1876

OLD Governor “Bill” Allen, the warmest-hearted, most genial, generous and yet firmest and truest of Democrats, has retired from politics and the world. He leaves no better man behind him.

Memphis Appeal.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 19, 1877

Image from Find-A-Grave

Find-A-Grave memorial LINK


Special to the Columbus Dispatch.]
CHILLICOTHE, July 11, 1879

The community was startled this morning by the report of the sudden death of ex Governor William Allen. He had been in town on Wednesday, chatting with old acquaintances, apparently in the best of health and spirits. Yesterday he had a slight chill, after which he took medicine and a warm bath. But apparently there was nothing in that illness to cause alarm.

He sat up late on his porch last evening, but after retiring was restless and arose, requesting Dr. and Mrs. Scott — his son in-law and daughter — to assist him, and they led him to a chair, into which he


The cause of his death is ascertained to have been heart disease, although he had never suffered from any premonitory symptoms.

Governor Allen retained his intellectual vigor to the last. At the time of his death he was in the seventy-fourth year of his age. From sixteen to eighteen years of that period have been spent in public life — as a member of Congress, Senator of the United States, and Governor of Ohio. He was universally respected and beloved by all who knew him here, and his loss will be sincerely regretted by his neighbors and the poor who his hand often fed.

The date of the funeral is not yet fixed, but probably will take place Sunday; as it is feared the body cannot be preserved until Monday, when the family desire the interment to take place. A number of distinguished men and old friends of the Governor are expected to be in attendance at the obsequies.

The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio) Jul 12, 1879

Fruit Hill - Allen Homestead (Image from Rootsweb)


The Venerable Patriot and Statesman Breathed his Last Yesterday Morning.

THE telegraph brought the painful intelligence to this city yesterday forenoon of the death, at his home in Ross county, at an early hour yesterday morning, of Hon. WM. ALLEN, ex-Congressman, ex-Senator and ex-Governor of Ohio, in his 73d year. Gov. ALLEN was born in North Carolina. In his boyhood days he walked from his native State, to Chillicothe, Ross county, where he studied law. In 1830 he was elected to Congress. In 1836 he was elected to the United States Senate, and re-elected in 1842, serving with CLAY, WESBSTER and BENTON with equal prominence, as one of the intellectual giants of that day. In 1873, after a voluntary retirement of 25 years, he was elected Governor of Ohio, but was defeated in 1875, after one of the most memorable campaigns ever known in the State.

Governor ALLEN was a man of the most undisputed honesty, broad and comprehensive in his views and fearless and able in defending them. He was the choice of the Ohio delegation in the St. Louis Convention in 1876 for President. Through a long and eventful public life, no suspicion of wrong doing was ever charged by his political adversaries, and no other man was held in such high esteem by his party friends.

He was a man of vast information upon all questions of a scientific, literary and political nature. He was never an idler, but in his rural home on Fruit Hill he prosecuted his researches as zealously in his latter years as he did when a student at law.

He was a friend of the oppressed, and his speeches in the campaign of 1875, were full of the spirit of Democracy which stood for the “man against the dollar.”

His Democracy partook of the fervor of religious zeal. He was eloquent in paying it the highest tribute which has ever been paid. In accepting the nomination for Governor in 1873 he said of the Democracy “upon its success and that alone rests the prosperity, liberty and happiness of the American people.”

In a speech delivered at Lancaster, Ohio, on the 19th of August, 1837, Senator Allen then rising rapidly to fame, spoke these memorable words:

“Democracy is a sentiment not to be appalled, corrupted or compromised. It knows no baseness; it cowers to no danger; it oppresses no weakness. Fearless, generous and humane, it rebukes the arrogant, cherishes honor and sympathises with the humble. It asks nothing but what it commands. Destructive only of depotism, it is the sole conservator of liberty, labor and property. It is the sentiment of freedom, of equal rights, of equal obligations. It is the law of nature pervading the law of the land.

We have this speech before us in a copy of the Chillicothe Advertiser, of September 9th, 1837, making eleven columns of that paper. It was a masterly effort and devoted principally to the perils which menaced the rights of the people from the United States Banks and delineated the baleful influence of an organized banking monopoly.

Gov. ALLEN leave but one child, Mrs. Dr. SCOTT, who resides at the old homestead. The particulars of his death did not accompany the meagre announcement by telegraph, and we reserve until next week a more extended notice of this great and good man, who in the public and private station was a man of unimpeachable probity, enlarged patriotism, an intellectual giant, a warm hearted citizen and a noble man. Ohio has lamented the death of many of her statesmen, but the death of none that have gone before will be more keenly regretted than the death of the philosopher, patriot, and statesman, WILLIAM ALLEN.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 12, 1879


Sketches of His Life and Public Services.

HON. WM. ALLEN was born in Edenton, Chowan county, North Carolina, on the 5th of January, 1807. He was, by the death of both father and mother, left an orphan in his infancy. His parents were poor. In his boyhood days there were no common schools in North Carolina, nor in Virginia, whither he early removed, and he never attended any school of any kind, except a private infant school for a short time, until he came, at the age of sixteen, to Chillicothe, Ohio. He, however, early manage to acquire the rudiments of learning; and that was the golden age of public speaking, and the era of oratory and orators in this country. He was enthused and carried away with a passion for listening to public addresses, upon every occasion and upon any subject, marking the manner and treasuring up the words of the various speakers he listened to — and he would go far to get the opportunity to hear. He soon secured a prize to him more precious than silver and gold — a pocket copy of Walker’s Dictionary, which he consulted for the pronunciation and meaning of every word that he heard and did not understand. This companion always accompanied him to public meetings, all of which he sought and attended as a deeply interested hearer.

Several of the years of his boyhood life were spent at Lynchburg, Virginia, where he supported himself working as a saddler’s apprentice. When he was sixteen years old, he collected together his worldly goods, tied them in a handkerchief, and set out on foot, walking every step of the way from Lynchburg, Virginia, to Chillicothe, where he found his sister, Mrs. Pleasant Thurman, the mother of Hon. Allen G. Thurman, who was then a small boy, whom he had never seen before.

After taking up his residence at Chillicothe, where he has ever since resided, (except when absent in the public services) young Allen was, by his sister, placed in the Old Chillicothe Academy, where he received his only instruction from a teacher. She herself selected and supervised his general reading. In this he derived the greatest advantage. The books she placed in his hands were the works of the best and most advanced writers and thinkers, by the aid of which his thoughts were impelled in the right direction, and his mental development became true and comprehensive.

Struggling on, and maintaining himself as best as he could, Allen entered, as law student, the office of Edward King, father of Hon. Rufus King, President of the late Ohio Constitutional Convention, and the most gifted son of the great Rufus King of Revolutionary memory and fame. When he came to the bar and while he continued to practice, forensic power, the ability and art of addressing a jury successfully, was indispensable to the lawyer’s success. This Allen possessed and assiduously cultivated, rather than the learning of cases, and technical rules, and pure legal habits of thought and statement, which made a counselor influential with the court.

While it is true that William Allen will be chiefly remembered for his services in the Legislature and executive departments of the government, it is certain that he was a learned and able lawyer. His name appears frequently in the earlier volumes of the Ohio Reports, and in some instances his arguments were abstracted by the reporter, Mr. Charles Hammond. They show conclusively that he was not only thoroughly familiar with the principles of the common law, but clearly understood the limitations on governmental power, State and Federal.

Political activity, a widespread reputation as a legal power in the judicial forum before a jury, and a fine military figure and bearing, joined to a voice of command, fixed him in the public eye as one deserving of political promotion. He had not long to wait. His Congressional district was strongly Whig. Wm. Key, Bond? and Richard Douglass so hotly contested for the place in that party that a “split” was produced, to heal which Governor Duncan McArthur was induced to decline a gubernatorial re-election, and to become a candidate, they both withdrew in his favor. Against him Wm. Allen was put in nomination by the Democracy, to make what was deemed a hopeless race. With a determination to succeed, he spoke everywhere, ably and effectively, mapped out every path and by road in the district, and visited nearly every voter at home, thus insuring the full vote of his party at the polls, and the accession of many converts.

During this campaign he met and overcame in debate William Sumpter Murphy, the grandson of the Revolutionary General Sumpter, and at that time recognized as the first orator in Ohio, who had been put forward as another Democratic candidate to divide with Allen the Democratic vote. The power he displayed in this canvass was fully exemplified in Allen at a later period, when he accepted the challenge of the Whigs to debate with Thomas Ewing.

At the end of that memorable contest for a seat in Congress, William Allen was declared elected by one vote, when he had scarce attained the Constitutional age to occupy it. Five hundred men are yet living who claim the honor of having, by lucky accident, cast that vote. Although the youngest member, he at once took rank among the foremost men in the House of the 23d Congress, and took a leading part in its most important discussions.

An election for United States Senator was soon to occur, and the two parties struggled for a majority in the General Assembly. Ross county was Whig; but the Democrats nominated a strong candidate for Representative. Allen labored for his election, and he was elected by one vote, which gave the Democrats a small majority in the Legislature. There were a number of candidates for Senator. An Eighth of January supper, with speeches, came off, at which all the candidates were present and delivered addresses. That of William Allen took the Assembly by storm, and he was nominated and elected over Thos. Ewing, who was then in the Senate. He reached Washington on the evening of March 3, 1837, to witness the inauguration of Presidnet Van Buren, and to take his seat in the Senate the next day. Late at night he went to the White House, where he was cordially welcomed and agreeably entertained by Andrew Jackson, the retiring President, who was his fast friend and ardent admirer. Before the end of his first term, he was re-elected by a very handsome majority; and he remained in the United States Senate until the 4th of March, 1849, being then, at his retirement, one of the youngest members of that body.

During the twelve eventful years that he represented the State of Ohio in Senate of the United States, he took a prominent part in all the discussions upon the great questions that Congress had to deal with. Most of the time, and until he voluntarily retired, he was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, being entitled to that elevated position on account of his eminent ability. He had just reached the meridian of his splendid powers. Tall, of a majestic and commanding figure, with a magnificent voice, an opulence of diction seldom equalled, a vigorous and bold imagination, with much fervor of feeling and graceful and dignified action withal, he combined all the qualities of a great orator in that memorable era when the Senate was full of great orators — in the day of its greatest intellectual magnificence. And in all the years he was there he never uttered a word nor gave a vote that he had occasion to recall or change.

While Governor Allen was a member of the United States Senate he married Mrs. Effie McArthur Coons, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of General Duncan McArthur — his early, true and only love. She chose him from among a host of distinguished suitors from several States. She inherited the old homestead and farm, where Allen, having added many acres to the latter, with his daughter, Mrs. Scott, her husband and their children and his grandchildren resided, until the summons came.

Mrs. Allen died shortly after the birth of their daughter and only child, Mrs. Scott. In health and sickness, William Allen was a most devoted and affectionate husband; and, after the death of his wife, he rode on horseback with the remains from Washington City to Chillicothe. He never thought of marrying afterward; and it is almost certain that if he had not married her, his only love, he never would have married at all.

Governor Allen always possessed unyielding integrity, and ever strongly set his face against corruption and extravagance in every form. When he entered public life, he had the Postmaster General certify in miles the shortest mail route between Chillicothe and Washington City, and always drew pay for mileage according to that certificate. He refused constructive mileage, and after his retirement from the Senate, the Whig Congressman from his district offered to procure and forward to him $6,000 due him on that score; but he would receive none of it. William Allen and John A. Dix alone refused it.

No man was ever more true and faithful in his friendships than William Allen; and few public men have gone as far as he to maintain a straightforward consistency in this respect. He virtually declined the Presidency of the United States, rather than seem to be unfaithful to an illustrious statesman whom he loved and supported.

After he retirement from public life at Washington, Governor Allen greatly improved by study. He has since been a more profound man than he was at any time during his career in the Senate. He was a great historian, was deeply versed in philosophy and the sciences, and was better acquainted with rare books than almost any scholar one can meet. His home was the home of hospitality, and to visit him there was to receive a hearty welcome and a rare intellectual treat. His farm is not surpassed in any respect by any other farm in the magnificent valley of the Scioto; and, as a thrifty and successful farmer, no man in the State was his superior.

In August, 1873, William Allen consented to take the Democratic nomination for Governor of Ohio. He became satisfied that it was a duty he owed his party, and the people without distinction of party; and when it became a public duty, he promptly accepted the situation, and came forth from his retirement to make what nearly everybody, but himself and the writer and compiler of this sketch, deemed a hopeless race. He made an able and effective canvass, and was elected by nearly one thousand majority, being the only candidate on his ticket who was successful.

He was inaugurated Governor on the 12th of January, 1874, in the presence of the largest assemblage of people that was ever before at the capital of Ohio. His inaugural address was everywhere regarded as a magnificent State paper. The New York Tribune said it “was a very model of a public document for compactness and brevity, devoted to a single topic — the necessity of reducing taxes and enforcing the most rigid economy in all matters of State expenditure.” Upon this point the Governor said:

“I do not mean that vague and mere verbal economy which public men are so ready to profess with regard to public expenditures — I mean that earnest and inexorable economy which proclaims its existence by accomplished facts.”

“In the prodigality of the past, you will find abundant reason for frugality in the future.”

His appointments, and all other acts of his administration gave general satisfaction, and were commended by the people without distinction of party. His inauguration was the herald of a new era — “the era of good feeling” in Ohio. Colonel Forney, in his Philadelphia Press, but stated a universally recognized truth, when he said: “Governor Allen, of Ohio, is winning golden opinions from all parties by the excellence of his administration of the affairs of the State.”

At the close of his administration he again returned to private life and to “Fruit Hill,” his beautiful home, with the firm determination that he would never give them up again for public position.

The Democratic State Convention that was held the following summer (1876) in  the city of Cincinnati, endorsed William Allen as the choice of the Democracy of Ohio for the Presidency, and instructed the delegation from this State to support him in the then approaching Democratic National Convention. He esteemed that endorsement, by that grand Convention, as the highest compliment he had ever received. When the writer hereof informed him what the Convention had done, he replied: “I am content. I can receive no higher honor than that.”

William Allen was the last survivor of an illustrious line of statesmen. He, too, is gone. It is hard to realize it “His sun of light is set forever. No twilight obscured its setting.” A great man is dead, and the people of a great State and a great Nation will manifest in a thousand ways their sorrowing sympathy. His memory and the memory of his deeds “will outlive eulogies and survive monuments.”

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 19, 1879


Ohio History Central has a biographical sketch HERE.

Pin Backward My Skirts

July 21, 2010



BACKWARD, pin backward my skirts in their flight,
Make me small again, just for to-night.
a am so weary and my skirts so long,
Sweeping the pavements as I walk along,
Gathering the dirt from out of the street,
Looked at by every one that I meet.
Mother, dear mother, I know I’m a fright,
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

Mother, dear mother, the days are so warm,
And I’m tired of this dress I have on,
It is so clumsy and don’t fit me right,
Pin it back, mother, pin it back tight.
Now I’m ready, don’t I look sweet?
Smiling on all I happen to meet,
I’m in the fashion, so that is all right
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

Mother, dear mother, I know it’s a sin
To wear dresses that show off one’s limbs,
But what is a poor girl to do,
If all the world wears them she must wear ’em too.
It is only those who are thin that are afraid
To show off a form that is not well made.
You may laugh, but you know that I’m right,
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 23, 1875

1875 (Image from

More Poetry in Advertising

June 2, 2010




When neatly dressed are we.
It’s fair in evening’s pleasant shade
On the Rue Montgomery;
And fine it is at the opera
Midst the glistening jewelry,
But rare, fairer, finer far
Is my Bonnet’s style to me.

Some may be trimmed with flowers fair,
And feathers flowing free,
And very like the foreign ware
That comes far o’er the sea;
But our MRS. SHEAR, one thirty-two,
Has the Bonnets neat, and tasty too,
And the Styles that pleases me.

The Golden Era – Jun 22, 1862

It was a proud and fickle maid
A young man sought to win,
But the coat he wore was shabby
And he couldn’t quite come in.
She answered “no” that cruel word
Had pierced him to the core,
You see he had never heard
Of “Talbot’s Clothing Store.”

Far out in Chalmsford Center
He wandered all alone,
And I could see that reason
Feebly toitered on its throne.
Says he, “I wish that I were dead;
My hopes and joys are o’er.”
My friend just come with me, I said,
To “Talbot’s Clothing Store.”

Then to that great Emporium
All hopefully we went.
I sought a clerk and told him
Of my friend’s predicament,
Says he, “There is a remedy,
And we have it just the thing,
See, here, it is, this ulster,
We call it the “Frieze King.”

Then proud as any monarch
In regal robes arrayed,
He donned that “Frieze King” ulster
and once more sought this maid.
She asked him to forgive her
When she saw the coat he wore,
And her tears bedewed that ulster
From “Talbot’s Clothing Store.”

He called on me the other day,
With such a smiling face,
You hardly would have known him
Such a change had taken place.
Said he, “Old man you saved my life;”
A bachelor no more,
I got an ulster and a wife,
From “Talbot’s Clothing Store.”

Lowell Daily Sun (Lowell, Massachusetts) Dec 14, 1893


Long years have I wandered unfettered and free,
And bitten the young and the old,
And laid in the couch of the rich and poor,
And frightened the warrior bold.
But power is waning fast from me —
A Powder Magnetic and strong,
Invented by LYON, is death to our tribe,
And away I must travel ere long.

Lyon’s Powder is harmless to mankind, but will kill all house insects, garden worms, plant-bugs, &c. Lyon’s Magnetic Pills are sure death to rats and mice. Sold everywhere.

D.S. BARNES, New York.
REDINGTON & CO., Agents,
416 and 418 Front street, San Francisco.

The Golden Era (San Francisco, California) Oct 12, 1862


‘Twas a night in the dog days,
And all through the house
Night prowlers were stirring —
Fleas, bed-bugs and mouse.
The children, uneasy,
Squirmed this way and that —
The bed-bugs preferred them
Because they were fat.
But at dawn on each insect
Lyon’s death powder fell;
And the rats and the mice, too,
Succumbed to his Pill.

Lyon’s Powder will kill all insects. Lyon’s Magnetic Pills are sure death to rats and mice. Sold everywhere.

D.S. BARNES, New York.
REDINGTON & Co., Agents,
416 and 418 Front street, San Francisco

The Golden Era (San Francisco, California) Dec 14, 1862




The rats that eat up all our goods;
The rats that hate the coming floods;
The rats that terra firma seek,
From flooded sewer and flooded creek
The rats — like all unearthly Gnomes —
Are now invading all our homes.
These rats must in the dust be laid,
Their debt of nature must be paid.
Oh! WILSON, thou alone can kill
The rats by thousands, at your will.

Wilson’s Rat and Roach Destroyer.

Here we have antidots. Dr. Wilson has been eminently successful in making his Destroyer so certain, so palatable too, to rats, that it kills them off at once. Thus, instead of scratching, boring holes, attacking pantries, and so on, “an awful stillness reigns around,” much to the satisfaction and gratification of the household generally, but especially to the housekeepers. Remember, when you are besieged by rats, to ask for

Use it, and your premises are clear,

For sale in New Orleans, wholesale and retail, by
21 Chartres street.
Sole Proprietor.

The Daily True Delta – Jan 4, 1862

If you want good groceries, go
To V.M. Metcalfe’s grocery store,
When there your wants just mention
And you’ll receive the best attention.

Sugar and Coffee, Tea and Spice
All prime articles, pure and nice.
Soap and candles, Bacon and flour
Molasses, Sweet — Vinegar Sour.

Rolls of butter, yellow and sweet,
Firkins of Lard, white and neat.
Pickles, potatoes, crackers and cheese
All nice as ever one sees.

“Silver Glass” Starch, and indigo blue
To make your clothes look quite new.
Put up in cans, all kinds of fruit —
You have your choice, take what suits.

Washboards, tubs, brushes and brooms,
A very large lot, kept at our rooms,
Citron and raisins, from over the Sea
And currants fine — from the Isle of Zante.

Coils of rope, and balls of twine,
Premium Blacking to make your boots shine,
Families supplied with all they need,
And farmers furnished with all their Seed.

And if your purchases are of heavy weight
To your homes, he’ll send them straight;
And if you come once, we are not afraid
But you will come again and give us your trade.

Kentucky New Era – Apr 9, 1875


Poetry in Advertising (previous post HERE)

Henry L. Goodwin: A Man For the People

March 21, 2010

A Monopoly of ’49.

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford, Conn., made a good share of his large fortune by a curious sort of monopoly. He was a California “forty-niner,” and in those early days, when San Francisco and its vicinity had a wretchedly poor supply of drinking water, he was one evening charged half a dollar by a man who owned a well for a drink for his oxen. That made him mad and he resolved that he too would become known as Man-Who-Owns-a-Well. With the aid of his partner, an engineer, he bored eighty feet deep on his town lot and there struck an inexhaustible supply of the best water yet found on the whole coast. Then he established a free drinking fountain for all passers by, but for all other purposes he sold the water, six gallons for a cent. Cattle owners could have their stock watered for fifty cents a yoke per week. For a long time everyone who wanted pure water had to go to Goodwin’s well for it, and a handsome fortune was realized therefrom.
Hartford (Conn.) Current.

Richwood Gazette (Richwood, Ohio) Feb 1, 1883

Father of Rural Deliver.

We again find Tom Watson described in newspaper print as the man to whom the country owes rural free delivery. We are not aware that he ever made such an unfounded claim for himself. The real father of American rural free delivery died some years ago in East Hartford. His name was Henry L. Goodwin, he left a shining example of faithful, useful citizenship behind him.

–Hartford Courant.

The Indiana Democrat (Indiana, Pennsylvania) May 10, 1905

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, a citizen of Connecticut, has addressed a memorial to congress, praying for the general extension of the free-letter delivery system, and the repeal of the law which forbids its establishment only in connection with post offices supplying a population of less than twenty thousand inhabitants, and the passage of a law leaving it discretionary with the postmaster general. Mr. Goodwin shows that we are far behind Great Britain, France, Prussia and Switzerland in the free delivery business, and refers to the fact that every step for the reduction of postage and the extension of postal facilities to the people has been followed by a large increase in the revenues of the postal departments.

The Weekly Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) Jan 25, 1883

From the Robert A. Seigel Auction Gallery:

The California Penny Post Company was established on June 25, 1855, by Henry L. Goodwin (sometimes reported as “J. P.” Goodwin). The Penny Post advertised service in several larger California towns and cities, offering to carry letters to and from the local post office, to bring letters to one post office and deliver them to the addressee from the receiving office, and to run an express service between towns after the government mails were closed for the day.

A specific rate was charged for each service, and these rates are reflected in the stamps and entries issued by the Penny Post.

Almost immediately the Penny Post incurred the wrath of the San Francisco postmaster, and Goodwin became involved in protracted litigation trying to fight the government.


Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford, Conn., one of the gold pioneers to California in ’49, aged 78 years.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 18, 1899


Succumbed to Pneumonia at 3 O’clock This Morning.


Stricken While at the Capitol — Unconscious for Several Hours Before Death — Sketch of His Useful and Honorable Career.

Henry L. Goodwin of East Hartford, well known throughout the state, died from a severe attack of pneumonia at his home at 2:55 o’clock this (Friday) morning. Mr. Goodwin was stricken while in the hall of the House of Representatives last week Friday, having a fainting fit, from which he recovered in about half an hour, so as to be taken to his home in the Burnside district. Pneumonia developed and Mr. Goodwin has failed rapidly since then, principally because of his feeble condition and advanced age. His brother, George Goodwin, was with him at the time of his death. It was seen yesterday afternoon that Mr. Goodwin had not long to live. At 6 o’clock he recognized his brother George, and then relapsed into unconsciousness, from which condition he did not recover.

Henry Leavitt Goodwin was born in Litchfield November 25, 1821, and was the son of Oliver Goodwin, a native of Hartford, and his wife, Clarissa Leavitt of Bethlehem, Litchfield county. Oliver Goodwin was for some years engaged in the publishing business in Hartford as a member of the firm of Hudson & Goodwin, at one time owners and publishers of “The Courant.” He afterwards removed to Litchfield, where he carried on a book and stationary business, and where Henry L. was born. Henry L. Goodwin began his business career as bookkeeper for his uncle, who was in the paint business in Brooklyn, N.Y. He did not remain very long with his uncle, however, for upon the discovery of gold in California he joined the pioneers in 1849 and became an “Argonaut.” He did not, however, go to the gold mining region as a miner but with an eye open to opportunities for business. He established, shortly after his arrival in the mining regions, a letter post  or pony express for carrying letters and messages from one camp to another, and in this was very successful, making some money. The government, however, put an end to the profit in this private letter carrying and took the mail service into its own hands. Mr. Goodwin was then interested in a system of water supply for miners’ camps and in this he was also successful. He did not remain on the coast a great many years, but returned to Connecticut. His father was a man of competence and had retired from business, and Mr. Goodwin did not interest himself in any particular business.

He took up his residence in East Hartford in 1862, but never carried on business there except to engage in what farming was necessary to keep a small place in condition. He married Susan Leavitt Goodwin, July 30, 1873. She died the succeeding April. There were no children. Since his wife’s death Mr. Goodwin had lived in the Burnside section of East Hartford in the midst of park-like grounds, several hundred trees being near to his home, which in connection with the grounds of his brother-in-law, the late George H. Goodwin, make one of the most attractive home parks in this vicinity. He was very fond of trees and took great care of them and the grounds about them and was particularly interested in a fine spring of water on the grounds. His habits were of the simplest and he lived quietly and unostentatiously devoted in his later years to the children of his brother-in-law.

As a citizen of East Hartford he was public-spirited and deeply interested in the welfare of the town, and its people. He was always at town meetings and generally pointed out something in a proposed action that ought not to be sanctioned by the people, or, more frequently introduced legislation embodying his own views. Some years ago he called attention to the inefficient system by which the books of the collector was kept, and the people indorsing his idea a new system upon lines laid down by himself was adopted, much to the benefit of the town. Upon the completion of the trolley roads east of the river he was instrumental in getting a five-cent fare to Burnside and called attention many times to the shortcomings of the trolley companies in caring for their patrons. His most signal success was in fighting the battle for the people in the matter of the now famous $35,000 appropriated by the towns interested in the Connecticut River bridge, for the “legal expenses” of the old bridge commission in placing the care of the structure on the state. After the order for the payment of East Hartford’s share was passed by the selectmen, Mr. Goodwin sued out an injunction restraining the treasurer of the town from paying an order for $5,000. The matter went to the courts and the supreme court of errors decided in favor of the injunction and it remains permanent. He was greatly interested in the bill before the present Legislature providing for the payment of the $5,000 by the town, the supreme court to the contrary, and had within a few days, been in consultation with prominent men in East Hartford in an effort to defeat its passage. In other matters in the town Mr. Goodwin was in many ways a benefactor. He was often called upon to settle estates for widows, orphans and persons who could ill afford to pay fees for the work and in many such cases served without charge. In one case where there was a chance of very little coming to the beneficiaries of an estate he asked for an allowance for services by the probate court and turned the amount in for the benefit of the beneficiaries. He was generous, but in his own way, following the scriptural injunction not to let his right know what his left hand was doing. Many poor people in East Hartford, and many a public benefaction was aided by Mr. Goodwin in a modest manner and if he was to have told the story it never would have been told. A prominent citizen of East Hartford said of him recently, “Mr. Goodwin was a man whom I greatly admire. He was conscientious in all that he did, worked for what he believed was the people’s good and wanted people to be better than they wanted to be themselves. He has been a useful citizen to the town; none more so.”

Mr. Goodwin was elected to the General Assembly from East Hartford for the years 1871, 1873 and 1874, serving on the committee on roads and bridges and on a committee in 1874 on “Inaccurate legislation,” the last named committee being one in which he would naturally take special pride. If any one could closely scrutinize an act of legislation to find what was in it that ought not to be in it, Mr. Goodwin was pre-eminently the man. His terms in the General Assembly were marked by efficient work as a legislator. For many years Mr. Goodwin has been best known by his appearance before successive legislative committees and at meetings of the stockholders of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company pointing out what he thought were delinquencies in the management of the finances of the road, in its bookkeeping and in its returns to the state for taxation. The state treasurer in 1886 brought suit against the railroad company to recover $137,000 in taxes, for returning supplies on hand as cash, and the supreme court found for the defendant upon the ground that, “As the board of equalization acted upon the return with the best information they were able to obtain, their decision is final, however mistaken as to the real facts that decision may have been.” The action of the state treasurer was taken on account of the discoveries made by Mr. Goodwin.

The public will remember a controversy that arose at one of the meetings of the board of equalization in which Mr. Goodwin questioned the figures put in as related to the improvement on the “Portchester” road and was invited by Vice-President John M. Hall of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad to inspect the improvements via special train, under his personal escort. This inspection took place some months later, but all that Mr. Goodwin would say of it was that he was “much interested” in what he saw.

In many other railroad matters prior to the long contest with the “Consolidated” Mr. Goodwin was active and always interested in what he believed to be for the benefit of the people. There was never any suggestion of anything or anybody behind what Mr. Goodwin was engaged in in public affairs. He entered upon his work in these lines conscientiously, convinced that he was right as a matter of principle, and used his own money to further his plans, in legitimate ways, by printing arguments and results of his investigations, and oftentimes he employed an attorney to aid him before a legislative committee and never to anyone’s knowledge asking aid from the pocketbook of any other person. Mr. Goodwin was a man of slight physique, and not in the most robust health, but his will was dominant over his ailments and he pushed ahead with great energy. He was in manner almost timid, careful of the rights of others and appreciative of assistance whenever it came to him through the newspaper press. He was well known to newspaper men of the state and in newspaper offices, and well liked, even though it was not always possible to agree with his propositions, which were often a matter of expert bookkeeping, clear to him, he said, but not always so easily understood by others.

The efforts of Mr. Goodwin in behalf of town and state reforms include many things which cannot be recalled, but among other things he was the originator of the present system of the legislative calendar a great assistance to the work of the General Assembly.

While in California Mr. Goodwin became interested in the postal affairs of the country and had a contest with the then postmaster of San Francisco on a matter of principle, which was taken up by Congress and called forth much discussion. From that time forward during the remainder of his life Mr. Goodwin became a student of the postal system of the country and of other countries and had official reports from abroad sent to him regularly. He urged many important reforms in the postal service, was a promoter of free delivery, suggested the carrying of mails by trolley cars, and penny-post he was seconded by the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon, who was greatly interested in the penny-post system for rural towns. Members of Congress from this state often received from him useful suggestions for better mail facilities. In the matter of the penny post he was seconded by the had but recently taken many documents from Mr. Goodwin’s house to work up the reform, while Mr. Goodwin was busy with his work before legislative committees.

Hartford Courant, The (1887-1922)  Hartford, Connecticut  17 Mar 1899

From Wiki


Henry L. Goodwin.

Henry Leavitt Goodwin of East Hartford, Conn., died of pneumonia at his home, in that town, yesterday after a short illness.

Mr. Goodwin was an active citizen, serving as a member of the lower house of the Legislature in 1871, 1872, and 1874, when he devoted much attention to the affairs of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in opposition to its consolidation first, and later to its absorption of rival lines. It was he who for many years appeared at the annual meetings of the company and made a series of fruitless fights against the incorporation of the cost of the Port Chester branch of the road in the capitalization of the company, charging that this branch had been largely overcapitalized by illegal watering at the time of its construction. For more than a dozen years he advanced his views, both before the Legislature and at the stockholders’ meetings, but legislative investigations that never amounted to anything were all that he accomplished. He did, however, succeed in having the tax laws of the State so amended as to secure the taxation of much railroad property that has previous to his agitation escaped its share of the burden. He was also largely responsible for the defeat of the thirty-five-thousand-dollar appropriation for “legal expenses” which the Legislature had sanctioned in connection with condemnation proceedings by the East Hartford Bridge Commission.

Mr. Goodwin was born in 1821, and in 1849 went to California, where he made a comfortable fortune in a pony mail and express route which he conducted between the mines and San Francisco, and which the Government finally acquired. Then he supplied water to miners’ camps, and was one of the pioneers in the State’s irrigation schemes. He inherited another fortune from his father, at the time of whose death, in 1862, he returned to East Hartford.

New York Times (1857-Current file)  New York, New York  18 Mar 1899


Words of Eulogy by the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon.

The funeral of Henry L. Goodwin was attended at his late home in Burnside yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, a large gathering of friends and relatives filling the rooms of the old farm house. The services were conducted by the Rev. S.A. Barrett of the East Hartford Congregational Church, who offered prayer and read selections from the Scripture. the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon of Norwich, an intimate personal friend of Mr. Goodwin, delivered words of eulogy, saying that out of an overflow of personal love he had come to pay a tribute to his friend of forty years. Long remembrance of a dear friend had made it impossible, at such a time, to say just the word that should be said, but here had lived a righteous man, if ever a righteous man did live. It would be impossible to speak words of praise in his presence, even his dumb lips might protest. He was not used to them in his modest life, but he had become well accustomed to obloquy and scorn, and his efforts had often been met with sneering and contempt. He had, however, the approval of God, speaking through his own honest conscience, and with that he was content. He moved about among the ways of men, his calm, quiet personality carrying a rebuke to unrighteousness. For many years his mind was active in enterprises for the benefit of his fellow men, fearless, tenacious, making it easier for us all to stand faithfully in our lot, doing our duty because we had seen his example.

Voices from unexpected quarters were now testifying to the dignity of his manhood and the usefulness of his life. But men may be simply righteous, and just, and not attain to goodness. Our friend was a good man. We shall know him better now that he has passed away, and little by little tales of his gentleness, of his acts of kindness and charity, shall be told. Even since coming to the house of mourning the speaker had learned what he had never heard Mr. Goodwin allude to in his long friendship of forty years — of his patient, fearless nursing of cholera patients on the Isthmus of Panama, when he made with his own hands the coffins for the dead and placed the dead in them while physicians and authorities had abandoned them. There was the gentleness and the goodness of the man. And there shall be many here who shall remember what good things he has done for the benefit of us all. The blessing of those who in their poverty were aided and in their distress were comforted will follow him even into the land of light.

This life had been a wonder to many. They were perplexed to find an explanation of its persistent dealing with those things that interested him in behalf of the community. there was an idea that there was something behind it, that it might possibly be a love of notoriety. There was no understanding that faithful service could come from the purest motives. People did not, could not, understand this sort of human nature, that could serve God by serving man.

Dr. Bacon offered the closing prayers. It is his intention to prepare a memorial sermon to be delivered in the East Hartford church, of which Mr. Goodwin was a member, at a later day, and also to prepare a sketch of Mr. Goodwin for publication.

The body of Mr. Goodwin rested in a casket in the east room of the house, surrounded with a profusion of flowers. At a later hour in the afternoon the burial occurred in the old North Cemetery in this city, beside his wife. The bearers were chosen from among relatives.

Special cars took friends and relatives from this city and from Glastonbury to the funeral.

Hartford Courant, The (1887-1922)  Hartford, Connecticut  21 Mar 1899

The Dead-Head System.

That very sensible and practical newspaper, the New York Journal of Commerce, takes the following logical view of free passes to the legislators and high officials in their travels over railroads:

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford (Conn.), deserves something better than the insolent slur cast upon him by the president of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for having sued out an injunction to restrain that road from giving free passes to members of Legislatures and of Congress, and all public officers, from the President of the United States downward. “His real object,” says president Bishop, “is probably to make himself distinguished.” His real object, we should more charitably say, is to cut off a useless waste of money and thus to enhance the profits of the road in which he is a stockholder, and to terminate a public nuisance so far as that line is concerned.

The whole traveling public, still more than the stockholders, have a direct interest in the discontinuance of “dead-headism” on railroads. Nothing is given in this world without a value received or expected; and when the New Haven line distributes free passes to the Connecticut Legislature, it only pays in advance for benefits it hopes to receive. By such means railroads stave off investigations, or procure favorable legislation. The public, going to the Legislature and petitioning for laws to restrain or regulate railroads, find that body already bought over to the other side. It is not consistent with human nature that a man should feel unfriendly to a road whose yearly free pass for himself and family he carries in his pocket-book. To the average legislator, unambitious of “heavy strikes” and great spoils, this bit of pasteboard is an immense favor, and only to be recompensed by blindly voting for all that the donors want. Shrewd railroad managers well understand this, and distribute the tickets plentifully at the opening of sessions, and so secure the defeat of possible hostile legislation. The companies can never be depended on to abandon official “dead-heading” voluntarily. They pretended to try it at the West a year or two ago, but it was soon ascertained that every company broke its own rules, and the agreement was openly abandoned; and the old plan of controlling legislatures with free tickets is now in vogue everywhere except on this one Connecticut road, where a judicial injunction has stopped it temporarily. Mr. Goodwin merits the public thanks for invoking the intervention of the only power equal to the suppression of the evil.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 1, 1875

“What will Henry L. Goodwin do when the Legislature adjourns sine die?” is a question asked by every visitor at the Capitol. He has not missed a session since the Legislature convened and has been in attendance upon every hearing before the railroad committee. His aim and ambition in life appears to be, to harass the Consolidated road and he has succeeded in having bills introduced that caused the attorneys for that corporation many hours to labor of hunt up arguments and questions of law. If Mr. Goodwin was a member of the Legislature he would be of great service to the state if appointed upon the railroad committee but that day will never come. The Consolidated road has a great deal at stake and they take an important part in the state politics. They would do their utmost to defeat Mr. Goodwin if he were nominated and he must always remain a private citizen, content to introduce bills that are always reported on adversely.

Sunday Herald (Bridgeport, CT) – Apr 7, 1895


“Men of Mark in Connecticut: Ideals of American Life Told in Biographies and Autobiographies of Eminent Living Americans”
Editor:    Norris Galpin Osborn
Publisher: W.R. Goodspeed, 1904  (Google Book LINK – pg  275)

Dealing With the Descendants of Beelzebub

December 2, 2009

{From the Boston Advertiser}

By a great misfortune, the early mothers of New England brought with them an insular prejudice against the spider, (Aranea domestica Linn.)

This is an industrious beast, often commended in Holy Writ, of whose excellencies the chief is that she devours flies.

The New England housewives aforesaid, not understanding the “battle for life” — as, indeed, how should they, Dr. Darwin having not yet lived? — did not know that the use of the spider was to keep the flies under.

Had they known this, they would have stood back to see a fair fight; and, on this blessed day, we should be all assembled, as in a colliseum, to see the last spider devour the last fly.

Instead of this, Mrs. Winthrop, Mrs. Dudley, and the rest, and their descendants after them, for eight or nine generations, have been brushing down cobwebs and killing spiders, so that the flies have had, and still have, very much more than a fair chance.

By another great misfortune, Uncle Toby, being bitten by a fly some hundred and odd years after, spared his life and said, “There is room enough in the world for thee and me.”

This may have been true. But if, as is probable, that fly laid 2,000 eggs within a month, and each of its descendants laid 2,000 eggs in the next month, and this process continued, winters excepted, for 120 years from his time, the world itself should not contain the zeros of the millions of her progeny in 1875, far less Uncle Toby thrown in.

It is to be wished that the recording angel had dropped his celebrated tear on this remark of Uncle Toby, and blotted it out forever.

As this did not happen, a mawkish philodipterism? has settled in, as friendly to the life of flies as Mme. Winthrop’s sense of duty was unfriendly to that of spiders.

An impression has gained ground that it is wicked to kill flies — while their weaker and humbler companions, the mosquitoes, far more harmless, are slaughtered daily.

In truth, flies are of the race of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. This divinity, at the head of his crew, was rightly represented as the god of flies.

For flies are fitly described as beastly, sensual, devilish. Beelzebub has no children of less moral sense than they.

Thanks to the errors named, the human race in America is now maintaining, at terrible disadvantage, its contest with those children of Beelzebub.

For the next month a large part of the readers of these lines will shut themselves up in cages of wire gauze, or gauze made from thread, shutting out much of the light and air of heaven in the hope that they may exclude the flies from their beds or boards.

Even in these prisons they will be unhappy. Some miserable daughter of Beelzebub willingly shared their confinement. In some sequestered corner she laid her 2,000 eggs.

The morning approaches, O prisoner, when as you draw near the breakfast table, you will find that the omelette, the breakfast bacon, the potatoes Lyonnaises, the marmalade, the huckleberry cake, and even the oat-meal are to be partaken of by you, only as you sit down as number two thousand and one at the banquet.

A few recalcitrant grocers confectioners will show a sickly and vain rage, by rebelling against the multitude, and will place sticky paper in the window to entrap a few wretches to their ruin.

The number of those who thus perish is to the host but as the company of jelly fish drying on the shore is to the multitude floating happy in the ocean.

Happier to undue the error of Mme. Winthrop!

Happier to reverse the futile sentence of Uncle Toby!

For fortunately the flies are as stupid as they are beastly, selfish, and ravenous.

How easy for the race of white men who have abolished negro slavery to free themselves from their uneasy cages!

How easy to determine that the flies shall enter the cages, as children of Beelzebub, while men and women shall enjoy that glorious freedom to which they were born.

He deserves will of his race who pours molasses and water with vinegar into a glass custard cup covers the same with a cracker bored with a hole, and retires to other duties.

At the end of the day he will deliver two hundred flies to the sculliop for that execution in hot water which their father Beelzebub hath in reserve for him.

If the well-deserving Tell or Winkelreid had prepared six such cups he will have removed in one week from his study 8,400 flies, whose progeny, before Summer ended, would be counted in many millions.

With ten civic wreaths shall he be crowned, for he hath saved the temper of many citizens.

Let civilized mankind spend August in catching flies, rather than spend September in Philadelphia, at the buildings of the grand Centennial, one vast concourse of the human race avenging its wrongs with calm severity in the judicial execution of the last of the flies.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 24, 1875


The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent. (1759-67)

Uncle Toby is a character (“would not harm a fly”) in the above book. You can read it online HERE.

Census Poetry

October 24, 2009

(Baltimore American)

We’re a-kickin’ on the census count down here in Bowersville,
The ?aggeus? that they give us is a might bitter pill.
They show that Pierce’s Station has a ten per cent increase,
An’ Jimtown — well they must a numerated Jimtown’s geese!
But Bowersville! The census shows she hasn’t grown at all,
An’ there’s rage an’ wrath from Henry’s store clear to the City Hall.

We can’t see how they jiggor it, for it has been our pride
That in the last ten years there’s only been two men died.
One of them was a peddler, who just gaped for breath an’ went,
When Deacon Skinner didn’t ask him to throw off a cent.
The other was a fellow who fooled with some dynamite —
Jest a button an’ a freckle was the only things to light.

But, gee-mun-nee! There’s Higgins’ twins, an’ Kesler’s girl an’ boy
Besides the triplets that has come to Hezeki McCoy,
An’ other babies! Man alive! You can’t walk anywhere’s
Thought bumpin into kerriges with youthful sons and heirs.
It’s jest a kid procession from the school-house to the mill —
But it isn’t in the census that they took o’ Bowersville.

The census man — he needn’t say he didin’t see ’em all,
He might be blind, but surely he could easy hear ’em bawl!
An’ that’s why we’re a kickin’ on the census man’s report —
We got a blame good notion for to take the case to court.
We think the census taker is in danger o’ the law,
Fer classin’ Bowersville along with shrinkin’ Omaha.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Sep 30, 1900

Census Taker

Census Taker


“Got any boys?” the Taker said
To a lady from over the Rhine,
And the lady shook her flaxen head,
And civilly answered, “Nine!”

“Got any girls?” the Taker said
To the lady from over the Rhine,
And again the lady shook her head
And civilly answered “Nine!”

“Husband, of Course?” the Taker said
To the lady from over the Rhine,
And again she shook her flaxen head
And civilly answered “Nine!”

“The deuce you have!” the Taker said
To the lady from over the Rhine,
And again she shook her flaxen head
And civilly answered “Nine!”

“Now what do you mean by shaking your head
And always answering Nine!”
Ich kunn nicht English!” civilly said
The lady from over the Rhine.

Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXXI, Issue 5669,  Nov 13, 1875, Pg 1

Judge Roy Bean: The Law West of The Pecos

August 29, 2009

Roy Bean was for ten years in the young days of Texas justice of the peace and coroner of the town of Vinegar Roon, being, as he expressed it, “the law of Texas west of the Pecos.”

He is still living in the town of Langtry, 300 miles west of San Antonio. No man know whence he came. The railroad builders found him away out there on the great desert plains, and when the gamblers and toughs and tenderfeet came along with the first trains and at once proceeded to run the country according to their own notions old Roy Bean declared himself a justice of the peace and boldly announced, “I am the law of Texas west of the Pecos.” It is highly probable that a few people who were in favor of law and order invited the strange character to assume the judicial position and that on account of his desperate courage and fearless judicial demeanor he afterward was appointed to fill the office of justice of the peace.

Early one morning it was reported in the town of Vinegar Roon that a man had fallen from a bridge near the place and that his dead body was lying on the ground close to the water. Roy Bean, as justice of the peace and exofficio coroner, at once summoned a jury. There was no testimony to be taken. The man was a stranger, and it was not easy to determine the cause of his death. He might have fallen from the bridge or he might have been murdered. The coroner searched the dead body, and when he found a pistol in one pocket and $50 in the other he turned to the jury and informed them that in this matter their services were of no value, since it would be necessary for the court to render a verdict without their aid. The court fined the dead man $50 for carrying a pistol and took possession of the money, since the fees of the coroner amounted to just $50, and the body was buried on the lonely prairie at the expense of the county.

Vinegar Roon was named after the most poisonous little reptile that infests the western plains, says the New York Press. It can sting a Gila monster to death in the twinkling of an eye and then turn about and chase a rattlesnake from his den. Chain lightning whisky is no antidote for the poison of the vinegar roon. Roy Bean named the place, and while acting justice of the peace he divided his time between the judicial bench and a roomy saloon and gambling house, where there was none to dispute his authority, for he was sole proprietor.

One fine day a gambler, while in an unusually hilarious mood, sent a pistol ball crashing through the brains of a Chinaman. When the citizens of Vinegar Roon had ceased to celebrate the exit of the Celestial and the funeral solemnities were an affair of the past, the killer was honored with a request to appear at the bar where liquids and justice were dispensed alternately.

The sage who was “the law of Texas west of the Pecos” had evidently devoted some spare moments to the study of his first murder case, for the judgment that was rendered and entered on the docket is certainly without a parallel.

“I have carefully examined the criminal statutes of Texas,” said Roy Bean, “and I find that there is plenty of law to punish one white man for another, but there is no law to punish a citizen of Texas for shooting a Chinaman. In fact, the Chinese are not mentioned in the statutes. The gentleman at the bar stands charged with having shot and killed a Chinaman by the name of Ah Foo. Mr. Ah Foo was unfortunate. He should have remained in his own country. Texas is the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is no place for Mr. Ah Foo or Mr. Ah Sin or Mrs. Ah Sin. Our wise legislators have failed to make laws for the protection of pigtails. Therefore the defendant is discharged, and the costs of this case are assessed against the deceased, Ah Foo, and in case the same cannot be collected in full by the sale of the goods and chattels of the said Ah Foo, or some other Chinaman, it is the order of this court that a copy of these proceedings be made and forwarded to the United States minister in China, and by these presents he is authorized to collect said costs from the emperor of China. The defendant is discharged.”

One day a man with an immense sombrero above his long, tangled hair and an arsenal at his belt appeared at Vinegar Roon, declaring that he had just stopped over to have a little recreation.

“I have been spending a few weeks in San Antonio,” he said, “and my shooting irons were getting rusty.”

After taking a few drinks at the bar he began to berate the mild and feeble qualities of the liquids offered for sale in the infant city.

“Give me a little tarantula juice with a real vinegar roon floating around in it!” shouted this Arizona terror.

“All right,” calmly replied the old behind the bar. “I think we can accommodate you, but you will have to wait a few moments.”

“Well, get up the beverage,” roared the terror, “and I’ll amuse myself during the delay by dropping a few bullets around promiscuously among the lamps and bottles and sich things.”

“As you please,” suavely replied the old man. “I like to see a stranger enjoy himself.”

The terror glanced at the polite barkeeper rather suspiciously, but he never once dreamed that he was talking to old Roy Bean.

Fairly chuckling with suppressed merriment, old Roy went out on the plains only a few steps from his saloon and after turning over two or three rocks he got a big tarantula and a monster vinegar roon. After mashing the heads of the poisonous reptiles he returned to the barroom, entering the door just as the terror with a wild Comanche yell began to rain lead among the bottle and glasses.

As the patrons of the house started through the doors and windows in confusion, old Roy shouted:

“Keep your seats, gentlemen. This infant cyclone will be of sort duration.”

The next instant the terror found himself standing on his head and his weapons were falling upon the floor. Mr. Bean held the amazed man in that position until an accomplished bartender had filled a large beer glass with pure alcohol, and then he reversed the terror as if he had been handling a toy.

“Now, look here, stranger,” said Mr. Bean, in tender but deceptive tones, “you have been finding fault with the quality of my whisky and you have seen proper, to satisfy your fastidious taste, to order a peculiar drink which I have taken the trouble to prepare for you.”

The terror turned his white face toward the bar, and when he saw a tarantula and a vinegar roon floating about in a tumbler of alcohol he uttered a groan of distress and his knees began to tremble.

“There is the peculiar drink and trimmings that you ordered, young man, and my name is Roy Bean,” said the old man, as he pushed the trembling terror toward the bar.

The amazed and thoroughly alarmed stranger found voice enough to beg for mercy.

“Drink every drop of it or I will break your neck,” said Judge Bean.

The poor devil gulped down the awful mixture and with a scream of terror sprang out into the street. He “hit the earth a-running,” and he never slackened his speed until the town of Vinegar Roon was far behind him. It is supposed that the man’s stomach instantly rejected the fearful poison, for he lied to tell of his experience in Vinegar Ron, though he said there was not gold enough in the world to hire him to revisit the place.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Oct 6, 1900


What the Newspapers Throughout Texas Are Talking About.

The Uvalde News says:

Last Monday Harry Webb, one of the Southern Pacific barge men, to amuse himself brought crackers to feed Judge Bean’s immense bear. The animal would come to the end of the chain, receive a cracker and turn a somersault, to Mr. Webb’s infinite amusement. Judge Bean finally remonstrated, telling the man to go out and “monkey with the donkeys,” as they wouldn’t hurt him. Mr. Webb bought another dollar’s worth of crackers and fed the long-eared animals for a time, but protested there was no fun in that and returned to Bruin, who, no doubt, was feeling injured. Finally a cracker was dropped and Webb stooped over to pick it up. The bear thought he intended taking it away from him and reached over with his mighty paw, caught the man back of the head, and pulled him into the ring. He tore the man’s scalp off, from neck to crown, as cleanly as an Indian could have done it, and was proceeding to further deeds of destruction when Judge Bean, attracted by the victim’s frantic yell, uttered a war whoop and landed directly on the bear’s back. The animal knew his master and cowed instantly.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 27, 1891


A Judge Arrested for Smuggling

SAN ANTONIO, Tex., Aug. 24. — Judge Roy Bean, of Langley, has been arrested for smuggling. It is alleged that he has been concerned in running horses from Mexico into the United States. He is one of the most celebrated characters of the frontier, and has been justice of the peace for many years. He has been accustomed to enforce his ruling with the six-shooter. Once when justice of the peace in Bexar county he sentenced a man to death by hanging for horse stealing, and the criminal would have hanged if not for the intervention of the officers from San Antonio. Bean is 60 years old and wealthy.

Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota) Aug 24, 1891


Judge Roy Bean Disposes Of a Big Docket.

Langtry, Tex., May 19. — Judge Roy Bean, chief justice of the district of Vinegaroon and the hero of many a thrilling border experience in court and camp, has recently been entertaining Judge Falvey of El Paso, whom he enlightened as to the practical and effective methods of dealing out justice in his jurisdiction. Judge Bean had no long before had as a guest Hon. H.C. Carter of San Antonio, to whom Del Rio lays claim because he embarked upon his professional career there and was at one time county attorney, making a splendid record as a successful and able lawyer.

When Judge Falvey came down from El Paso, Judge Bean met him not far from the seat of justice at Vinegaroon, escorted him to town and invited him to occupy a seat on the bench with him as he was about to open court. Judge Falvey accepted the invitation with expressions of pleasure, and court was opened in due and solemn form.

The first case called was one in which a man had made an affidavit charging another with shooting at him with a pistol, the bullet missing affiant’s head barely an inch. Judge Bean remarked that he had seen the two men drinking together during the morning with every indication of good will toward each other and asked:

“You are friends, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” replied the man who had made the affidavit.

“Then I fine you $50 each,” firmly announced the judge.

“But, my dear judge,” interrupted Judge Falvey, “this man is charged with a penitentiary offense.”

“That’s all right,” responded the court.

“All we can do with these fellows here is to fine them. IF I was to send them up to Fort Stockton it would require a journey of 200 miles by rail and 60 miles more by land and it would bankrupt the county to feed them. The fine assessed by this court will stand.”

The next case was that of a man brought in by Sergt. Lindsey, charged with having “rolled” another.  Judge Bean, thinking perhaps Judge Falvey would not understand the expression “rolled” called on the sergeant for an explanation. The sergeant gave it, saying that the term “rolled” meant that a man caught asleep or too drunk to take care of himself has his money and valuables taken out of his pockets or off his person. It was the border term for theft from the person. The prisoner in this case, he said, had taken two $20 bills and some silver from his victim’s pockets and the bills were produced and laid on the judge’s table as incriminating evidence.

Judge Bean demanded of the prisoner to tell what he had done with the silver and the latter replied that he had spent it on the guard.

“Then,” said the cort, “I fine you both $10 a piece and if I catch you around here within two hours I will feed you on bread and water and chain you to a stake.”

“This man is also guilty of a penitentiary offense, judge,” said Judge Falvey, who had listened closely to the proceedings.

“I can’t help that,” returned the chief justice, “that is all the way this court can be run.”

While Judge Falvey was sitting with Judge Bean he saw some 15 or 20 cases disposed of in like manner and when he told the people there, referring to his visit at Vinegaroon,

“Gentlemen, you have the right man in the right place.”

It is said that in reading closely Judge Bean’s famous decisions is to be attributed in a large degree the success achieved by Attorney Carter in his profession and by the way, it is said, note of these decisions has ever been reversed. Though, possibly that is due to the fact that the dispenser of justice at Vinegaroon never allows appeals from the decisions of his court.

Judge Falvey asked Judge Bean if the report was true that he allowed no appeals and the answer given by Judge Bean was that no appeals were granted because all the contractors in that vicinity were transients; all their personal effects and chattels were mortgaged and they could not give a solvent bond as required by law when appeal is taken.

When the evening’s session was over, Judge Bean escorted his guest to Eagle Nest, a string band leading the way and enlivening the journey with soft music. That night the judge gave a dinner at his saloon at Eagle Nest in honor of his visitor and things were made pleasant all around.

THE SAN ANTONIO DAILY EXPRESS (San Antonio, Texas) May 21, 1899


Once Proud Seat of “Law West of Pecos” is Now Crumbling Ruins.


Town’s Name, Eagle’s Nest, Vanishes From Map and Only Memory Remains of the Judge and His Rulings.

San Antonio, Tex. — With its foundation posts wobbling like old men’s legs, its floors showing ugly gaping holes, its porch roof shorn of the last lingering board, scraggy bits of what was once white paint hanging to the outer walls, and its door banging to a single rusty hinge — at Langtry, Tex., once known as Eagle’s Nest — what remains of one of Texas’ most famous old landmarks is succumbing to wind and rain.

It is the once proud seat of the “Law West of the Pecos” — the old home and saloon and throne where, not so many years ago, Judge Roy Bean lived and reigned supreme as dispenser of justice and red eye liquor, and dared the world to interfere with his game.

But since Judge Bean went away there had been a great change. Perhaps it is just as well that he “cashed in” — as he himself probably would express it — before the days when nowhere in the whole of Texas can the traveler find a drop to drink.

In the “Good Old Days.”

Many humorous and many semi-tragic stories regarding Judge Bean have been handed down by friends and relatives, many of whom are living in or adjacent to San Antonio today. It was in a day when enforcers of the law were few and far between, and when the men with the quickest trigger finger and the steadiest nerve were monarchs of a large portion of what they surveyed.

Bean was justice of the peace of precinct No. 6 and the ranking representative of the law for hundreds of miles north, south, east and west of him. Equipped with a copy of the statutes of Ohio of the vintage of 1885, a sense of fair play, and a strong conviction of what the law should be even though it were not so written down in the books, he put up his sign:

Judge Roy Bean,
Justice of the Peace,
Law West of the Pecos.

In addition to being chief magistrate over everything “West of the Pecos,” Judge Bean conducted a thirst-quenching emporium typical of the day. The saloon was in the hall of justice, and from behind the bar came the voice of authority backed by a brace of perfectly good six-shooters.

Judge Bean’s “Law.”

Two Mexican men and women walked into Judge Bean’s court one day and informed him that they wanted a change; that they wanted to swap helpmeets. The judge made diligent inquiries of each of the four, found all to be of the same mind, charged each of the men $15 and a dozen bottles of beer and called it done.

When a state official from Austin on a flying visit to “Eagle’s Nest” complained to Judge Bean that he was exceeding his authority, explaining that divorces should be passed up to a higher court, Bean alleged to have retorted:

“Why, say! Have I ever butted into your affairs? These people wanted to sway, they paid me for changin’ ’em around, they’re livin’ together pu’fectly happy, an’ nobody ’round here has complained. You go on back to Austin an’ handle your courts like you want to, but this is out o’ your jurisdiction.”

THE IOWA CITY DAILY CITIZEN (Iowa City, Iowa) Dec 22, 1919

Judge Bean Incident heading1911
To J.W. Schofield, city salesman of A.B. Frank % Company, belongs the distinction of having served as clerk in “Judge” Roy Bean’s court when “Law west of the Pecos,” had application to all classed of cases, civil and criminal, and the “Judge” power to render judgment extending all the way from the imposition of a petty fine, to the pronunciation of the death penalty.

The honor is not to be lightly construed. Mr. Schofield is the only person known to have officiated in the dispensation of justice in the most unique court in the history of judicial procedure. It was in every sense a high honor, for Judge Roy Bean, as was becoming his unusual prerogative, alone and unaided administered the “law” of his court. But the case under consideration was one in which the defendant threatened an appeal in the event the case went against him. Under the circumstances Judge Bean thought best to comply with the wishes of the attorney for the defense and Mr. Schofield was appointed to act as clerk.

Business Rivalry Cause.

The case was the result of the rivalry which existed between Judge Bean’s saloon and that of J.P. Torres.

In the spring of 1893, Mr. Schofield visited Langtry in the capacity of drummer of one of the San Antonio houses. D. Hart, a prominent sheepman of West Texas was preparing at the time, to pay off 200 or more sheep shearers who had been engaged to shear the animals. In anticipation of reaping some of the benefits of this spurt of prosperity, Judge Bean had laid in an extra stock of beer and whiskey. His rival was no slow to follow his lead.

The Mexican shearers arrived, and went in droves to the “Jersey Lily,” Judge Bean’s saloon. Satisfaction spread over his face as he looked over at the almost empty place of his rival.

Stealing a March.

But Torres was not easily outwitted. He had a partner running a saloon with a dance hall in connection at Flanders, the point where the railroad gang engaged in the construction of the Pecos bridge was camped. Torres dispatched a messenger to him with instructions to bring the dancing girls at Flanders to Langtry, accompanied by the orchestra. The move was not known to Judge Bean, if it had been, an injunction restraining Torres from bringing the women and the music to his place would have been issued immediately.

Soon after the arrival of the dancers, strains of music issued from Torres’ place to the accompaniment of shifting feet. The crowd of Mexicans in Judge Bean’s saloon, one by one, raised their lips from the glasses, and in crowds departed to the scene of revelry.

Judge Bean scratched his head and called for his friend, Mr. Schofield.

Not in Accord With Law.

“Now look here, Schofield, it ain’t in keeping with justice that all this amount of beer I have imported for this occasion should go to waste,” he said. “It ain’t economy, and it ain’t accordin’ to the statutes of the State of Texas.”

“I’ll just pull Torres for conducting a disorderly house. There are more ways than one of doing business,” he said, while deputizing several cowpunchers to arrest Torres, and bring him before the honorable court of the law west of the Pecos.

Following the arrest of Torres, his place was closed down, and the shearers returned to the “Jersey Lily,” while the case of the State of Texas versus J.P. Torres, was duly docketed and called for trial.

Threatens Appeal.

Mr. Cunningham, inspector of customs, stationed at Langtry, appeared for the defendant, and demanded a jury. He also informed Judge Bean that in the even the case went against his client in the lower court an appeal would be taken. He was in turn informed that the decisions of Judge Bean’s court were conclusive and final and no such thing as a appeal had even been heard of. Mr. Cunningham insisted that the appeal would be taken, and Judge Bean called on Mr. Schofield for assistance.

In making the appointment, Judge Bean said, “I’ve got to have you for a clear, because there ain’t anyone around here can write.”

While Mr. Schofield agreed to serve as clerk, his intentions were to leave on the night train. Just as he was in the act of boarding the train, however, a ranger stepped up to him and asked if he had not been appointed to act as clerk. Mr. Schofield admitted that such was the case. Upon this the ranger then told him that he had better remain and perform his duties. Mr. Shofield agreed with the ranger when he caught sight of two bit six-shooters that looked like business.

The Trial.

In the morning the case was called for trial.

Mr. Cunningham, having a smattering of law, got the best of the argument, and put Judge Bean to rout on several legal points. Whenever the judge was unable to reply to the sallies of Mr. Cunningham, he would hold up the only law book he had, which was a statute of the state, and say:

“If what you say is the law, and is in the book, and ain’t a good law, then I’ll tear it out of the book.”

Mr. Schofield who was busily engaged in performing the usual duties of the clerk, in addition to taking and subscribing testimony, realized that the case was going against the judge. In the end the jury disagreed and it being impossible to secure another, the case was dropped for the time being.

A year later Judge Bean, on a visit to the city, met Mr. Schofiled, who naturally, was still greatly interested in the case.

Judge Bean Won.

“Well I finally got the best of Torres,” he told him.

“A jack-leg lawyer turned up in Langtry broke some time ago, and in discussing the case with him, I found out that Cunningham had no right to practice law. The lawyer told me if he did not have a license he had no right to defend Torres. After that things looked easy. I called on Torres and told him that I had him. The thing I sprung on him was, that I had discovered that Cunningham did not have a license to practice law, and therefore his action in defending him was illegal and contrary to the constitution of the state and the United States, and if he wanted to plead guilty, it would cost him $25, but if he did not, then I would try him again and stick him the limit. Torres came across and paid the $25.”

Judge Bean had at this time run afoul of the real law, by giving divorce degrees to two Mexican hombres in order that they might exchange wives. In discussing the case, Judge Bean gave expression to an axiom which he alone has ever been able to understand, “Law,” he said to Mr. Schofield, “is the true dispensation of justice.”

Hitting a Snag.

“The two Mexicans,” he explained, “appeared before me and secured a license to marry. I issued the license and married them. About four months later the same men came to me again and said they wanted to be divorced so that they could exchange wives. They said that in marrying they had married the wrong women, and had now concluded that their difficulties could be solved by being divorced and re-married. I granted the divorce, and swapped the wives around for them.

“It was not long after this that the county judge at Fort Stockton got wind of the proceedings and called on me at Langtry.

“He informed me I had exceeded my authority, and that he would be compelled to arrest me and take me to the jail at Fort Stockton. I finally succeeded in getting the judge to remain over night in Langtry, and knowing he was fond of playing poker, I sent out for some of my boys.

“The judge had about twenty dollars with him, which he soon lost. Of course, I supplied him with money from time to time, and when daylight came the judge owed me about $500.

“He called for his horse and rode away without mentioning anything more about the criminal proceedings against me for granting the divorce, and I did not remind him of the money he had borrowed from me. After he had gone, the boys came around and gave me back my money.”

“Texas certainly lost a unique character by the death of Roy Bean, some three or four years ago, ” said Mr. Schofield.

THE SAN ANTONIO LIGHT (San Antonio, Texas) Nov 26, 1911

Judge Bean jersey lilly pic1 1934

Famed Pecos Judge Shocked S.A.

For 20 years before he became law west of the Pecos, the famed Judge Roy Bean shocked San Antonio with sensational scandals and gave his name to part of the south side.

South of Concepcion park along Flores, where the colorful adventurer played Robin Hood to his friends and reveled in comic glory, became known as Beanville.

His escapades kept the courts busy but his legal footwork was so expert he was never convicted on any charge brought again him. Finally, a harried friend paid him to leave town and stay away.


The portly man with a heavy black beard came to San Antonio during the Civil was and made a quick fortune running the union blockade by smuggling cotton to Mexico.

Deciding German and American society was too formal for him, Bean donned a sombrero and moved to the west side in 1866, squatting in a shack on San Pedro creek.

After a run of bad luck his creditors attached his hauling equipment and the sheriff prepared to sell it. Feeling the pinch in his pocketbook from lack of wagons, Bean simply stole his equipment back and the case was closed without further action.


Bean’s unwilling landlord then ordered him to pay back rent for the shack or move out. Bean refused and went to court again. After months of legal stalling, the owner gave in and compromised by moving Bean’s belongings to another house, giving him a jug of whisky and paying him $3000 for inconveniences.

Bean then moved to S. Flores and the area took the name of Beanville. Pundits called it Dogtown because of the extreme poverty of the residents and because all the curs on the south side were starving to death.

The temporarily wealthy Bean next created a society sensation by marrying Virginia Chavez, a descendant of on of San Antonio’s original Canary island families. He settled down to a quiet married life for a few months, but was soon back in court.


In 1867 his wife charged him with assault. She said he came home drunk, took a flaming stick from the fire, chased her out of bed and burned her backside severely.

The case rocked society and Bean got a change of venue to Boerne. At the trial he demanded his wife show the jury her scars, and when she refused the judge dismissed the case.

Bean next turned woodsman. He was hired to keep poachers off a lumber mill’s property, but made more money selling to a competitor on the side.

When the deception was uncovered, he became a dairy farmer. He bought a herd of milk cows on approval, but because of a drouth they starved to death.


Butchering was his next vocation. Bean hired boys to steal stray horses and cows and peddled the meat from door to door. He opened a saloon on the side and went broke in both enterprises.

His last venture was a return to freighting, but he killed a man in a duel in Mexico and closed shop again.

A posse of deputy marshals camped in Beanville in 1875 and convinced the 56-year-old man he should seek his fortune in the wide open west. He lacked the money to go, but a neighbor, who wanted  to be rid of him, bought his worthless business just to get him to leave.


As a parting gesture he made a southsiders promise to keep the name of Beanville and departed from San Antonio saying:

“They say there’s no law west of the Pecos. Well, there’s too much law around San Antonio.”

He settled at a railroad construction camp called Vinegarroon and opened a tavern which he advertised widely in south Texas. In 1882 he was made a justice of the peace and began his climb into legend as a judge, a sportsman and platonic friend of Lily Langtry.

SAN ANTONIO LIGHT (San Antonio, Texas) Oct 24, 1954

Judge Bean Lillie Langtry pic 1934


Law West of the Pecos

By EVERETT LLOYD (excerpt from chapter two)

Contrary to general belief, Roy Bean was not personally acquainted with the celebrated English actress, Lillie Langtry, and she did not visit the town supposed to have been named in her honor until after Bean’s death. That he had a long-distance admiration for her, and even wrote to her and received a reply, we know from the statements of the famous beauty in her autobiography.

The most plausible explanation of Bean’s admiration for Lillie Langtry is that at the time she was a world celebrity; her picture and stories of her triumphs and love affairs were in every newspaper; and the station of Langtry having already been named, it is more than probably that Bean in a spirit of levity and partly as a hoax, informed her that he had named his town in her honor, and it was natural that she should feel flattered. A few years later when the opportunity came during one of her American tours, the citizens of Langtry being aware of Bean’s fancied or pretended acquaintance with the great actress, and having heard him read her reply to his letter, invited her to pay the town a visit on her way to California and she accepted.

Amarillo Daily News (Amarillo, Texas) Aug 1, 1940

Famous people in the photo above include Judge Roy Bean, Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy and Teddy Roosevelt.

Animal Suicides

March 27, 2009
Image from

Image from

When a horse commits suicide by hanging itself in its stall, that’s noose.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Dec 19, 1928

Posted by Mugira Fredrick at

Posted by Mugira Fredrick at

AN IOWA cow committed suicide the other day, out of grief for the loss of her calf. After following the butcher’s wagon to the slaughter house and giving vent to a series of agonizing moans, she deliberately made her way to the river, waded in beyond her depth and was drowned.

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jul 26, 1872


A Virginia horse committed suicide in the James River at Petersburg last week. He walked out to the pierhead of a wharf, and looked around as if choosing a spot, jumped into the river at a point where the water was deepest. Persons on the wharf, seeing that he was drowning, got a rope around him and drew him into shallow water, but as soon as he touched bottom he got loose again, and wading out some yards further in the stream, put his head beneath the surface, and kept it there until he drowned.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Aug 26, 1875


A Mad Cow Commits Suicide.
From the Columbus, Ga., Daily Times.

Yesterday, about noon, upper Broad and Oglethorpe streets were thrown inot a state of excitement by the strange antics of a cow, which gave every indication of madness. It was a fine young animal, belonging to Mrs. Purcell. She was very vicious, fighting other cows, etc; she ran into a wagon, and, with rolling eyes, kicked up her heels and snorted around generally. Efforts were made to catch her, but they were in vain, and she finally ran into the river, near Mott’s Green, and was drowned. The body was caught near the upper bridge.

Her conduct is inexplicable. Some have advanced the idea that perhaps she was drunk, from eating the seed and strainings after wine making from blackberries, thrown into the street. How about this we cannot say, but her death entails a heavy loss on Mrs. Purcell.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 6, 1882


Horse Commits Suicide.

The Wabash Railway, in a damage suit instituted by J.M. Sauvinette to recover the value of a horse which met his death on the Wabash tracks, sets up the novel defense that the horse committed suicide. Perhaps the animal had been reading advertisements of the Wabash, and got it into his head that it was the direct route to heaven. –Globe-Democrat, Feb. 27, 1903.

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 3, 1903



Deliberately Butts Head Against Wall Until it Falls Dead.
Cincinnati, Sept 30. A horse owned by Joseph Kamphouse, of this city, deliberately committed suicide by butting its head against a stone wall. The animal was hitched to a buggy left standing in the street while the owner went into a place of business for a few minutes. It walked slowly toward the wall a square away and fell over dead after striking its head against the wall ten or twelve times. A score of persons witnessed the suicide.

Kamphouse declares he knows of no reason why the horse should destroy itself and will inform the President of the circumstances, although he will run the rist of being called a nature faker.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sep 30, 1907

Image from seahorsekisses on

Image from seahorsekisses on

Found Drowned, and Its Owner Declares Animal’s Act was Deliberate.
Special to the Washington Post.

Glennville, N.Y., July 6. — It was so hot on Wednesday that a horse owned by J. M. Cook, went to a brook and drowned itself, and William Beekman, the constable of the town of Greenburgh, was prostrated with heat after carrying his big badge around for five hours doing duty on the warm roads.

Cook’s horse was found by Beekman, with its head under water. He declared that the horse had not drowned itself, just drunk itself to deat. Cook said it was purely a case of suicide.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Jul 7, 1911


[New York Sun.]

According to the Humane Society of Spokane a horse deliberately committed suicide there the other day. The animal was decrepit and has been deserted. Too weak to eat solid food he was tethered in front of a patch of clover. He sampled the clover, and then, according to the report, deliberately plunged headlong off a bluff overlooking the river a few feet away and was later found dead.


Naturalist have frequently related the suicide of animals through grief. Probably the oddest one of all is tht told by Dr. Ezekiel Henderson, the traveller, of a tigress whose cubs had been taken from her by the agents of one of the large circus menageries of the United States. The party came upon the tiger’s den while hunting in Asia for exhibits. They took four cubs and crossed a near-by river with them, destroying the primitive tree trunk bridge after they reached the other side.

The tigress returning and finding her cubs gone bounded by scent down to where the party had crossed the stream. She knew of the tree trunk, having made used of it herself before. When she saw it was gone she uttered the most piercing and lamentable howls and cries. The party with her cubs came back to the river bank, attracted by the noise. The tigress when she was her cubs gave vent to an unearthly shriek. Then crouching, rising and recrouching again several times, she deliberately sprang from the river bank. The river was five times wider than she could have been expected to leap, and leaping animals are close calculators. She fell 25 feet into the stream. She came up once, turned toward the distant shore, threw her head back and sank for good. A clear case of suicide the doctor called it.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Jul 13, 1913

“Common Scolds” Have Their Days in Court

March 3, 2009


This first account is about some Native American school children who evidently got  tired of their “Yankee” school teacher’s scolding:

THE natural law which writers on jurisprudence recognize seems to be a good deal like old English law in some respects. The penalty of ducking for intolerable scolds, enacted by statute in England, is a part of the natural code among the young savages of America. In Dakota some of the Indian children attend school; the teacher being of the usual Yankee school marm standard; but a more than average hand to scold. For a time the Indian pupils submitted tolerably well to the discipline of the schoolroom, but recently an outbreak came all at once. The Indian pupils made, one afternoon, a dash at the teacher, carried her out of doors to the creek, and there actually ducked her in the water with her head downward! Of course this was rather below the English method, where a ducking stool was used, and the victim went down feet foremost, but it was the best plan that suggested itself to the untutored minds of “the young barbarians all at play.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 27, 1875


In regards to the law:

Counseller Ruddiman has in charge a bill mentioned before — but a propos in this connection, resurrecting a relic of the past in the shape of a whipping post for wife beaters and it is expected that Statesman Law, to be even with his colleague, will shortly rehabilitate the ducking stool as a protection for hen pecked husband.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Mar 16, 1881


THE Philadelphia Press is clamoring for a revival of the old law which punished “common scolds” by public ducking. It says there is increasing frequency of “common scold” cases in the Pennsylvania courts, and suggest that a “gentle dip or two in the Delaware” would be more effective than a “temporary sojourn in the house of correction.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 1, 1882


This “lady” (I use the word loosely) sounds like quite a character:

South Chester Items.

A case was tried at 7 o’clock last evening before Justice Fields. A warrant was placed in the hands of Constable Elliott, on the oath of Margaret Slack, for the arrest of Margaret Reynolds, charging her with malicious mischief in throwing stones at her windows, appearing on the street in a nude condition, and being a common scold. The evidence was corroborated by several of the neighbors. The justice bound her over in the sum of  $200 bail for her appearance at the next court. She could not get bail. Constable Elliott had a serious time in getting her to the lockup. He had to drag her part of the way. She was determined that she would not go to the lockup, but the officer finally succeeded in getting her there.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Aug 19, 1882

Com. vs. Margaret Reynolds. — Assault and battery, common scold, open lewdness, malicious mischief, drunkenness; in fact charged with almost every crime at the tail end of the catalogue of criminal offenses, next engaged the court. Mrs. Slack was the prosecutor. Mr. Slack was her chief witness, and all lived next door to each other. Poor Margaret claimed a good character, told a tale of wondrous good works and got off, never to come back again.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Sep 21, 1882


More on the law…and a warning!

THE law on the statute books of Philadelphia providing for the punishment of women who are common scolds has been revived and a number of scolding women have been arrested and released on giving bond to keep the peace. The penalty for this offense is ducking and the ducking-stool will have to be resorted to should anyone be convicted. As this law applies with equal force to all parts of the State, some of our Indiana people should cut the item out and paste it on the looking glass.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Aug 7, 1889


Now, this one is particularly funny:


A Judicial Lecture to a Common Scold.

NEW YORK, Feb. 10. — Elizabeth Schultz, the old German woman who made such a nuisance of herself that she fell into the hands of Jersey justice and was convicted of the crime of being a common scold, was before Judge Hudspeth of Jersey City to-day for sentence.

“Madame,” said Judge Hudspeth, as she stood up to receive her sentence, “you occupy a unique position before this court, having had the inestimable distinction of being the second person convicted here of being a common scold. There was a time in the history of this state when such serious and reprehensible offenses as yours were punished by means of a ducking pond. But in this advanced age and more enlightened civilization the laws have been altered, so that it is in the power of the court to inflict a more humane punishment. Madame, apparently you have no control of your tongue at all. You are a nuisance. You have driven people out of the locality in which you live. You have disturbed the peace and comfort of your neighbors. You have made of yourself an unmitigated nuisance. Your offense against the peace of this commonwealth is a very grave one. You must keep quiet and silent. You must understand this. You must keep your tongue silent. The court has considered your case, and has given due weight to the appeals that have been made in your behalf. The sentence of the court is that you pay a fine of $10 and the costs of the prosecution.”

During this speech Mrs. Schultz had remained absolutely silent. When it was finished her lawyer led her to the clerk of the court and she paid the fines and costs, amounting in all to $76. Then she left the courtroom and trudged silently home. It should be added that Mrs. Schultz knows no English, and hence did not understand a word the judge said.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 15, 1893


A Common Scold.

POTTSDOWN, Pa., April 17. — Chief Burgess Evans committed Hannah Fry, a single woman, to prison, charged by Councilman March with being a common scold.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Apr 18, 1893

NOTE: At least two others were tried, Mrs.Hannah Underwood of Hopewood, acquitted in1890, and prior to her, Hannah Young, from Washington Twp., convicted, but found to be insane, so she was confined to an asylum, per an article in The Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) dated June 13, 1890.

Might want to think twice before naming a daughter,  Hannah.


Philadelphia North American:

Ellen Getz, who was sentenced to three months in the county prison yesterday, should have lived in the old Puritan days. Mrs. Getz’s offense was that of being a common scold and of using language that would put the proverbial swearing trooper to blush. Such cases are rare now, in those days, however, common scolds were numerous, and sometimes they were publicly ducked at the town pump; in rare cases publicly whipped; but usually they were bound and gagged and stood on the main street for several hours, bearing on their breasts a placard labeled: “Common Scold.” Mrs. Getz escaped all this, and she was lucky. Let her reflect accordingly. It is hard enough to hear a man swear; but a woman! Let us hope that Mrs. Getz, and all like her, will take Judge Gordon’s advice and put a bridle on their tongues for the future.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 18, 1895


FINALLY! A male scold gets his:

The shoe never appeared so ostentatiously on the other foot as it did the other day in a New York police court when a former subject of the kaiser was arraigned as a common scold and proven guilty on the testimony of the women of the neighborhood, whom he was always trying to drive inside from their doorsteps. He had even turned the hose on them when they stepped out for fresh air after ten o’clock. The court held him in $400 bonds for the future good behavior of his mouth, much to the delight of the neighbors.

“Who ever heard,” exclaimed his irate lawyer, “of a man being a common scold?”

“I did, just now,” his honor replied, “and unless he furnished $400 bail he will take a ride in the wagon outside.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 11, 1898


This may have been the first conviction for Fayette County, but Pennsylvania seems to be the most likely state to be charged with being a “common scold.” In fact, the law still may be on the books today, although I haven’t checked. I found an article from 1961 of a woman being charged with the crime. She seemed rather amused by  the whole thing.

For the first time in the history of Fayette county, Pa., a person has been convicted of being a common scold, a verdict having been rendered in the case of Mrs. Carrie Eicher, of near Brownsville. Adam H. Zeigler, a neighbor, made the complaint. Children started the trouble.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 16, 1904

Carrie Eicher, who resides near Brownsville, Pa., in the vicinity of Uniontown, Pa., recently convicted on the charge of being a “common scold,” when she appeared for sentence was allowed to go on the payment of the costs, $35.21. Her attorney explained that she had moved away to Grindstone, and that she could no longer create a disturbance in the place where complaint was made against her.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 28, 1904

For more on Scolds, see my post, “Common Scolds and Ducking Stools.”

The Brown Family: When Vigilantism Turns to Outright Murder

December 30, 2008
Texas Vigilantes

Texas Vigilantes

George Brown, Sr., and his sons, George Jr.,  Andrew and Jesse, along with others, evidently started out as vigilantes in the wild west of Texas, but soon began to abuse the power of justice and went on a murdering rampage over several years before being convicted. George, Jr. and Andrew were eventually hung for their crimes, but not before 14  people were murdered.

The Gainesville Gazette contains the following shocking narrative: “Monday, Nov. 2d, three men went to the house of the Estes brothers — three bachelor brothers living together — at Post Oak Tavern, Montague county, and there took breakfast, after which the strangers took two of the Estes brothers out and murdered them about one-half a mile from the tavern, and left. The same night, while friends were sitting up with the corpses, the same party that murdered the two brothers returned and dragged the remaining brother out of the house, a distance of fifty yards, and there murdered him. The parties were unknown to the citizens of the country in which the murders were committed. The Estes brothers, report sayeth, bore an unenviable reputation.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 12 Nov 1874

The Denison News contains the following account of a terrible crime: “Wednesday night, the 15th of April, a party of eleven men surrounded the house of a widow woman named Mrs. Morrow, or Marrow, and commenced firing at the building, and through the windows and doors. It is estimated by those in the neighborhood that thirty-five or forty shots were fired, thirty of which it was found the next morning had struck the house. Mrs. Morrow was hit three times, one bullet taking effect in the right shoulder, one struck her in the leg, and the third hit her in the small of the back, penetrating the bowels, which last proved fatal. She lived an hour, or an hour and a half. A physician was summoned, but he could render no assistance. There are two suppositions given to account for the cowardly attack on Mrs. Morrow– one is based upon a rumor that she was cognizant of certain persons having been engaged in stealing horses, and had threatened to expose them; another that she is the only witness of the killing of her husband, which occurred about a year ago. A man who was also a witness was either put out of the way or induced to leave the country not long since. The murderers are still at large.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 07 May 1875

The North-West learns from Mr. Johns that developments have recently occurred in Montague county that implicate a family of Browns, consisting of George and George Brown Jr., Jesse and An?a Brown, living near Red River, as the murderers of Rat Morrow and wife, a man by the name of Bachelor and a Mr. McClain. Some of these murders were committed near two years ago, but no certain clue to the murders had been obtained. Recently some domestic difficulties occurred resulting in one of the Brown’s wives leaving her husband, and threatening to revenge herself for wrongs she has endured by informing the public who were the murderers. This determined the murdering party to protect themselves by putting her out of the way, and one of the number was ordered to kill her. He refusing to obey, became another dangerous element, and was sentenced to a like fate. He flew to the authorities for protection and the secret was out.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 04 Oct 1876

The Gainesville Gazette gives the following account of the wholesale assassinations which have prevailed for three years in Montague county: Three years ago R?t Marrow and the Brown family and several other parties living near Burlington, in Montague county, on the beef trail, got into a dispute about some cattle, and a short time afterward R?t Marrow was killed. Mrs. Marrow, the only witness to the murder of her husband, had the parties indicted. Threats against her life were made, and finally her house was burned and her body riddled with bullets. Some of the neighbors who took sides with the Marrows, shared similar fates–among whom were the three Easters brothers, who were killed in August, 1874,– Bachelor, whose headless body was found in Red River about a year ago, Kozier, whose body has never been found, but supposed to have been thrown into Red River, and a young man named McLain, killed last spring. Several parties who were witnesses to some of these bloody deeds have been intimidated and driven out of the country, and for this reason it has not been known until recently who were engaged in the murders. The citizens had a meeting a few weeks since, and from their movements a man by the name of Barris became uneasy and made some remarks that caused them to believe he was implicated. In the meantime, he had a falling-out with his comrades, and fearing that for knowing too much he would be put out of the way also, he went to some citizens and told them that if they would protect him he would tell who were the guilty parties, which they agreed to, and he gave the names of quite a number of individuals. Two of whom, Jesse Brown and Geo. Brown, Sen., have been arrested and put in jail; the others are still at large. Barris, who is a relative of the Browns, was also engaged in the murders, but says he was forced to it from threats. Great excitement prevails, and it is feared Barris will also be killed if not closely guarded.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 05 Oct 1876

The Ben Kribbs (Krebs) mentioned below will get his own post. It is quite a spectacular (and not in a good way)  story as well.

Ben Kribbs, the principal in the terrible murder of the England family in Montague county, has been tried and sentenced to death. The jury were out only five minutes. He appealed…..Geo. Brown, murderer of Robert S. Morrow, three years ago, has been sentenced to be hung, but also appealed.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 23 Nov 1876

The sheriff of Montague county, assisted by twelve rangers, brought down six Montague county prisoners to Gainesville last week, and lodged them in the Gainesville jail for safe keeping. The prisoners are all charged with murder, two of whom — Cribs and Brown — have been tried, and found guilty of murder in the first degree. They are waiting the decision of the Appellate Court.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 21 Dec 1876

Gainsville Gazette: From Mr. J.D. Taylor we received the following list of prisoners now confined in our county jail: From Denton–T.E. Bailey, charged with theft; John Russell, arson; A.G. Hall, theft; D.B. Deason, forgery; C.F. Mack, theft; Wm. Lunsford, theft; Geo. McDonald, (col.) assault. Montague County — Geo. Brown, A.J. Brown, Jessee Brown, Jessee Brown Jr., L.P. Preston, B. Kribbs, murder. Cooke County — J.G. Swaggerty, assault to murder; J.W. Roberson, murder; B.A. Cameron, swindling; Joe Johnson, J.W. Hughes, J. Robertson, Charles Shole, theft; W.D. Brown, assault to murder; Frank Widener, aggravated assault; J.A. Carrol, arson; Frank Kidd, drunkeness. Clay County — John Reed, Charles Holder, (col.) murder.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 11 Jan 1877

Monitor The court of appeals having affirmed the decision of our district court in the George Brown and Andrew Brown cases, those murderers will be hanged in Denton. They were charged with committing several murders in Montague county, but got a change of venue to Denton county.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 04 Jun 1879

A final account(s) will follow this initial post, and will give lots of details about the various murders and the fates of the accused and convicted. The article is a long one, so I may break it up into more than one post.